Law, Culture, and the Russian Legal Tradition

The development of the Russian legal tradition, with particular emphasis on the historical, ethical and cultural factors that have contributed to its emergence, comparing the Russian tradition with the Western legal tradition. How law, lawyers, and legal institutions have been portrayed and perceived in Russian popular culture, especially Russian literature, including the relationship between secular legal institutions and the Russian Orthodox Church. Taught in English. One course.

Beat Generation/Russian New Wave: Cultural Dissent in the Cold War

Exploration of identity formation and cultural dissent in US and Soviet Union during Cold War through lens of Beat Generation and New Wave literature and film; explores cultural dissent in relation to both a given culture context but also considers how such dissent is read and appropriated in comparative contexts; introduces students to key figures/features of respective movements, placing these in historical context; figures include: Kerouac, Burroughs, Ginsberg, Snyder, R. Frank, Aksyonov, Bitov, Akhmadulina, Voznesensky, Visotsky, Tarkovsky and Yevtushenko. One course.

Tolstoy and the Russian Experience

Historical approach to Tolstoy's depictions of major societal and ethical issues (e.g., war, peace, marriage, death, religion, relationships). Culture of salons, print culture, censorship, and changing political climate. Central questions on the relationship of fiction and history: uses of fiction for understanding history and dangers of such an approach. Readings include selected fiction of Tolstoy, excerpts from journals and letters, and critical and historical accounts of nineteenth-century Russia. One course.

The New Russia: Reflections of Post-Soviet Reality in Literature and Film

Examination of fiction and film in the post-Soviet period. Topics include: crime and social breakdown in the 1990s and 2000s; transformations of classic character types (anti-hero, virgin-whore, swindler-rogue); religious and ethical quests; taboo-breaking themes. Works by authors Sorokin, Grishkovets, Pelevin, Petrushevskaya, Sadur, Shishkin, Minaev, Tolstaya, Akunin, Ulitskaya and filmmakers Bodrov, Rogozhkin, Bekmambetov, Khlebnikov/Popogrebsky, Balabanov, and Sokurov. Readings and class discussions in English. One course.

End of Life in Russia and U.S.

Brief history of hospice movement in U.S. and Russia. Examine key moments in end of life issues in each country; focus on social attitudes to death and dying and their effects on end of life care. Sources include memoirs, fiction, theoretical works, and policy documents. Service learning course; includes work at sites such as the Unicorn Bereavement Center, a skilled nursing facility, or the state’s attorney’s office. One course.

The Turks: From Ottoman Empire to European Union

Readings in cultural history and literature to examine transformations in Turkish identity from the Ottoman era to EU accession. Discussion of the “gazi thesis,” the “sultanate of women,” religious tolerance (millets), conversion, modernity and nationalism. Secondary topics include Sufism, Islam, gender, and historiography. Interdisciplinary focus. Taught in English. One course.

The City of Two Continents: Istanbul in Literature and Film

Presents Istanbul, a city located in both Europe and Asia, as a site of political identities in conflict. Overview of contemporary literature and film set in Istanbul. Studies ethical implications of textual and visual representations of various people and groups interacting in urban spaces. Addresses the reasons for Turkey's love-hate relationship with the Ottoman past and Europe. Historical background, modernity, identity, Islam, and cosmopolitanism. Knowledge of Turkish not required. One course.